Narita Airport + Narita City Superguide

Name: Narita City

Kind: Town

Location: 35°46’35.97″ N 140°19’07.47″ E

Station: JR Narita or Keisei Narita Sta.

Updated 7/26/2020!

©2019-2020 tenmintokyo.com

If you’re flying to Nartia Airport in Japan, you may want to consider staying over a few nights in Narita City just southwest of the airport.

Take the Keisei Line from the airport to Narita Station and get off.

There are 2 different lines + stations in Narita – the Keisei Line + the JR lines at the JR station. Both stations are within a few blocks of each other near the town square. Don’t get these confused with the stations at the airport. Narita City is actually a few miles southwest of the airport.

Skyliner Info Desk @ Narita International.

There are many good hotels in Narita City but we recommend APA Narita Ekimae – it’s 1 block from the station, very clean, quiet, and reasonably priced at around $65/night. You’ll see the word Ekimae at many hotels in Japan. It means “At the station”.

Just north of the airport is also the Narita View Hotel at around $50-60/night. Well worth the money and closer to the airport. Just keep in mind this option is outside the town of Narita itself so you’ll have to take the train into town to sightsee.

If you take the Skyliner to/from the airport to Keisei Ueno station, there’s a very good luggage forwarding service at that station which will forward your bags the next day for $9/bag. This works in both directions – to/from the airport to your hotel.

Narita City itself is a charming old small town with lots to do.

There are stations for both JR trains and Keisei lines in the same block in the town square.

Step off the train from the aiport onto a local street and you’re instanly in small town Japan.

Unless you’re flying in from Asia, it’s likely your flight was long. You can rest in Narita City overnight, before heading back to the airport to catch the NE’X or Skyliner into Tokyo.

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If you’re feeling adventurous, walk one mile from Narita City’s center on backstreets to get to a large AEON shopping mall. There is also a street called Narita Omotesando on the way lined with lots of traditional shops + restaurants.

Just to the left of the JR Narita Station in the city square is the Narita City Tourist Information Office. There’s actually a lot to do in Narita City – including a nice museum. Also be sure to check out the impressive Narita City Hall.

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View of business district in Narita City. The edge of the city hall is the sloped green-roofed bldg. on the left center in this photo. You can also walk a few miles down the main street shown above to the south and back for some nice exercise.

Looking back north along the same street. The APA hotel is on the left.

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Entering Narita City Square from the south. Turn right here for Narita Omotosando. The JR Narita Station is out of frame to the left.

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Narita City Square. APA Hotel is the small white bldg. in the distance to the left of the tall brown bldg. on the right.

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JR Narita Station, right. The Narita Tourism Office is just to the left in the same building. Turn right at this light and go north here to get to the main shopping area. In the 3-story bldg. on the left there is a very nice and large Family Mart.

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Keisei Narita Station – take the Keisei Skyliner out of Narita International Airport and get off here. This is just across from the town square.

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Narita City Hall

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There’s a huge map of Narita City just next to the city hall.

Just to the northeast of Narita City Hall under the elevated Keisei tracks is Kuriyama Neighborhood Park – a very nice verdant park with benches and lots of room for kids to play. There’s also an old steam locomotive here. Well worth a look. It’s around 35°46’42.67″ N 140°19’08.71″ E

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Most hotels in Narita City are conveniently located. Easy to use convenience stores (conbini) and parking abound.

Eat like a king cheap out of conbini (convenience stores). A lot of the food is quite healthy such as cheap pre-made salads, lemon tea, and vegetable drinks. This entire meal only cost around 600¥ (about $6).

Wandering Around

You can actaully have a great time in Narita City just walking around. Pick a street and just start walking to see what you’ll discover. If you’re up for getting a Japanese Driver’s License, you can even buy a brand new Honda scooter at local dealers for as little as $900, like the one shown below.
The real attraction in Narita is the long shopping street just to the north of the town square. Nippon Wandering TV covered this street in the video shown at the end of this post. To get there go west from either station, into the city square, then turn right (north) immediately. There are all kinds of nice little shops along this street which are well worth a stroll.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com
©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Wander around.

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Narita is full of simple + charming small homes such as this one. Note the typhoon shutters on the left side.

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Narita City has plenty of old-school charm to keep you occupied – well worth a few days exploring.

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Epic train tracks heading back to Narita International. Narita City Hall is just across the street to the right, out of frame.

More Narita International Resources

Narita to Tokyo: Late-Night Transfer Options
https://tokyocheapo.com/travel/narita-to-tokyo-late-night-transfer/

While trains are one of the easiest ways of getting from Narita during the day, they aren’t really an option late at night. The N’EX is $36, last leaves Terminal 1 at 9:44pm depositing you at Tokyo Station just under 60 min, and Ikebukuro at 11:09pm (which should give you enough time to transfer to a connecting train for you area, if it isn’t one of those).

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/nex/

https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/pass/nex_round.html

N’EX Round Trip can be purchased from JR EAST Service Centers + JR Ticket Offices at Narita Terminals 1, 2·3. Purchase is not available outside Japan, we recommend buying the ticket immediately on arrival.

Note several JR Service Centers also offer hotel reservations + luggage services.
https://www.jreast.co.jp/e/customer_support/service_center_tokyo.html

Adults $60-$70. Tickets are valid 14 days. Trains operate every 30 mins + take about an hour from Narita to Tokyo station. Use Ordinary Car reserved seats on Narita Express. A one-way ticket is valid for use on one limited express.

Station Office Office Hours
Narita Airport Terminal 1 JR EAST Travel Service Center All Days 8:15-19:00

JR Ticket Office All Days 6:30-8:15, 19:00-21:45

Narita Terminal 1 Travel Center All Days 9:00-20:00
Narita Airport Terminal 2·3 JR EAST Travel Service Center All Days 8:15-20:00

JR Ticket Office All Days 6:30-8:15, 20:00-21:45
  • Tokyo Station
  • Shinjuku Station
  • Shibuya Station
  • Ikebukuro Station
  • Ueno Station
  • Hamamatsucho Station
  • Narita Airport
  • Haneda Airport
  • Sendai Station
  • Shinkansen and limited express ticket sales
  • Suica sales
  • Various other tickets

Currency exchange window/Foreign currency exchange ATMs
http://www.travelex.co.jp/JP/For-Individuals/Products-and-Services/Products-and-Services-for-Individuals/

7 Bank
https://www.sevenbank.co.jp/intlcard/index2.html

Footnote: T-CAT As a Cheap Return Alternative

Here’s a cheap travel hack for the return trip to Narita when you’re ready to leave Japan: Use the Tokyo City Air Terminal (aka T-CAT) bus service. This little known bus service is way out on the east side of Tokyo right in the Metro Hanzomon Line’s Suitengumae (pronounced Sweet-ten-goo-may) Station. There is also First Cabin Suitengumae capsule hotel just 3 blocks down the street from T-CAT @ around $42/night. When you’re ready to return to Narita you could take the NE’X or Skyliner back, but the T-CAT bus service will shoot you there in silent comfort for a mere $9. It also has busses to Haneda Airport.

To get to T-CAT, jump on the Metro Hanzomon Line down to Suitengumae Station, and take the City Air Terminal District Gate exit. You can also enter the station from the street. In fact, it’s only a few miles from Tokyo Station itself so you can even walk there from Tokyo Sta. – and see some sights along the way. You can also make reservations on T-CAT’s website in advance.

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Hanzomon Line is indicated by the purple circle and “Z”, in this case at Otemachi Sta. just north of Tokyo Sta. Suitengumae is Hanzomon Z10 – just 2 stops east. The blue Metro system symbol is on the left.

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For T-CAT exit City Air Terminal District Gate.

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Metro Hanzomon Line map. Suitengumae is roughly in the center (Z10), shown in red, and Otemachi Sta. is just 2 stops to the east at Z08. You can also take the line all the way to its western terminus @ Shibuya, shown on the far left, or Oshiagé/SKYTREE, its eastern terminus, shown on the far right. The Mitsukoshimae stop (Z09) is in Nihombashii just to the north + stops in the basement of the Mitsukoshi Depato (department store), which is well worth a look.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

Metro Hanzomon Line’s Suitengumae entrance on Etai-Dori Ave. The Royal Park Hotel bike parking lot described below is in the upper right corner.

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Metro Hanzomon Line’s Suitengumae platform.

Bike Access to T-CAT

If you are on bike you can park your bike for up to 24 hrs. at the very nice Royal Park Hotel Nihonbashii just down the street for a few ¥. The lockers are outside on the east side, but the place is very safe + the hotel staff will even be willing to help you if you’re not staying there since it’s their bike park. You can lock your bike, jump a bus, or train, go where you need + return later for your bike. The hotel is at 35°40’54.88″ N 139°47’13.24″ E (2-1-1 Nihonbashi-Kakigara-cho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo). This here map shows roughly the relationship between all 3 places:

Suitengumae Station is the leftmost pin, Royal Park Hotel the center one, First Cabin Suitengumae the right one. T-CAT is in the station. Sumida River is just to the right. To the east (right) of this is Asakusa, and a little further east, Sky Tree. There is also another Royal Park Hotel in Shiodome.

Suitengumae Area Photo Enjoyment

Here are a few more photos from the area for your enjoyment + reference:

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2 more views of T-CAT @ Suitengumae Station.

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Walking from Suitengumae Sta. to Tokyo Sta.

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There is also another public outdoor bike locker on this route.

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Be careful with Otemachi Sta. – it’s easy to get sucked into its labyrinth shopping malls + corridors which go on for miles inside + underground.

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First Cabin Suitengumae is on the left tucked down this quiet residential side street. The main street, Etai-Dori is just to the right out of frame. Turn right on Etai-Dori and head a few blocks west to get to T-CAT.

©2019 tenmintokyo.com

First Cabin Suitengumae has a nice Lawson conbini just up the street. Step outside and turn right and you’ll be facing the street that takes you to T-CAT . There’s also a postal drop box here.

Welcome, dear traveler, to First Cabin‘s futuristic sleeping pods:

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First Cabin Suitengumae‘s facilities are quite nice:

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If you walk just a bit east on Etai-Dori Ave you cross Etai Bridge over the Sumida River, from which you can gaze at this famous view of Toyko known as Ookawabata River City:

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Etai Bridge is roughly at 35°40’33.40″ N 139°47’17.99″ E and you can walk or ride a bike across it. You can enter Ookawabata River City by crossing the Chuo-ohashi Bridge shown on the right in the distance. But to do that, you must first cross an intermediate bridge on the Nihonbashi River @ roughly 35°40’45.91″ N 139°47’02.25″ E first to get to it.

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Nihonbashi is just to the northeast of Otemachi Sta. + features the excellent Coredo multi-use complex.

Well, that’s it for now. Enjoy your trip to Narita International + Narita City!

A few more photos of Narita International:

Links

https://www.narita-airport.jp/en/

Narita City Official

The Keisei Skyliner for Narita Airport

Take the Keisei Line from Narita

Narita Travel Guide @ japan-guide.com

Narita, Chiba

Narita @ WikiTravel

Narita Day Trip Itinerary @ Truly Tokyo

Narita Airport to Tokyo | Tokyo Cheapo

Narita to Ikebukuro

Narita City – A stopover to discover traditional Japan @ Kanpai!

Be Strategic About Getting to Tokyo From Narita and Haneda

Things to do in Narita @ Trip Advisor

Find the Cheapest Transport from Narita Airport to Tokyo @ Tokyo Cheapo

T-CAT

Tokyo Sta. -> Suitengumae Sta. Walking Route Map

Royal Park Hotel (agoda.com)

Royal Park Hotel

Royal Park Shiodomé

Coredo @ Nihonbashi

Private Narita Layover Tour including Sake Tasting

Phantom Narita Shinkansen

https://www.agoda.com/narita-view-hotel/hotel/tokyo-jp.html?checkin=2020-05-01&los=3&adults=1&rooms=1&cid=1720055&searchrequestid=f7e751a1-1f69-4eeb-9f65-7fcba116e2f8&travellerType=0&tspTypes=8,16

VIDS

Buying a bicycle in Japan

Having a bicycle in Japan can come in handy.

Walking long distances take a long time. Trains are crowded + expensive.

If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere quickly, having a bicycle can save you time and frustration while getting around in Japan.

This guide tells you everything you need to know.

Unfortunately Japan – unlike many other modern countries – has yet to build good widespread bike lanes, even in Tokyo. This is surprising given the number of people who ride bikes here. Some areas in central Tokyo, such as around Tokyo Dome do have good bike lanes – but they are often blocked by deliveries so you must still be careful.

Everyone from housewives with kids, to octogenarians can be seen riding bikes. Many Japanese rely on their bikes to get to grocery stores, to commute to and from work, and just to get around.

The streets in Japan are very narrow, sometimes hilly, and everyone is always in a hurry. Riding a bike in Japan can be a real hazard. You’ll have to be extra careful at intersections and crosswalks – both so you don’t get hit by a vehicle, and so you don’t collide with pedestrians.

Bikes are everywhere in Japan.

Here are the basics of how to buy + ride a bike in Japan:

  • Buying a bicycle in Japan.
  • Do’s + dont’s of riding safely.
  • Parking.
  • Taking your bike on trains in Japan.
  • Bike sharing.

Buying a bicycle in Japan

Bike shops abound in Japan. But you can also buy bikes at depato (department stores), including low end depato’s such as AEON, and Don Quiojte.

There are smaller higher-end shops such as Y’s Road and Cycle Base Asahi, but be prepared to pay more. If you’re looking for high end bikes, check out dealers in Japan, or higher end shops. There’s a huge Y’s Road shop 2 blocks east of the main Ikebukuro JR Train station in Tokyo.

One of the best shops in Tokyo is Cycle Olympic. They have a great new shop which just opened called Free Power – located in Kokubunji western Tokyo.

Cheap generic bikes can be bought in Japan anywhere from $125 – $200 + up. These are really low end bikes – some have Shimano shifters + sprockets, but they’re usually low end equipment. Most sub-$200 bikes in Japan are for very basic getting around. There are also generic unisex $125 bikes at discount stores. For just puttering around, these will work. If you’re after a high end bike, go to one of the specialty or dealer shops.

Our new $200 generic bike from Don Quijote...
… with a single rear low-end Shimano shifter. Most low end bikes sold in Japan today are “fixies” – with a fixed, single-gear front sprocket.

A new bike lot at discount store Don Quijote.

Legally, when residents of Japan buy a bike at a bike shop, they’re required to fill out a small registration form which contains a small registration sticker which gets affixed to the front top or neck of the frame of the bicycle. If you’re a short term visitor to Japan (under 3 months), this requirement is often waived by the shop selling you the bike. However, consider in this case if some legality later arises between you and a resident party, it could cause you trouble. Also, the lack of a registration sticker on your bike will almost certainly mean you will never see it again if it’s stolen. The police won’t even listen to you if you didn’t have the registration sticker to begin with. So, for temporary visitors, proceed with a purchase at your own risk. The best way to mitigate theft risk is to make sure you lock your bike, and park it in a designated bike parking lot (more on this below).

However, bike theft is much more rare in Japan than in western countries. Only very high end bikes are usually targeted in Japan, and even then theft is rare. People simply don’t steal bikes here. It’s common to see peoples’ bikes parked out front of their houses, with no locks whatsoever.

Most Japanese bikes today come with an ingenious locking mechanism on the rear wheel called a Gorin Lock. This device is permanently affixed to the frame and contains a sliding ring which you slide into the spokes of the rear wheel when you park – which makes the wheel impossible to turn. With the lock engaged, no one can ride off with your bike. The only downside is the lock is secured with a key, which you must keep on you at all times. If you lose your key, you’ll have to cut the lock off, which won’t be easy.

A Gorin Lock.

Do’s + dont’s of riding safely

There are a lot of bikes on the streets of Japan – and, as we mentioned, few good bike lanes. Unless signs state otherwise, you may ride your bike on sidewalks – as most locals do. Just be sure to not ride too fast, endanger people, or cause pedestrian problems.

It is extremely important to be extra careful at intersections. Many of Japan’s streets are tiny and have blind corners. Micro-sized motor vehicles often shoot out of nowhere with little warning. Many backstreet intersections have no stop or yield signs. You take your life in your hands if you don’t use proper caution when crossing intersections. We mean it. In many ways, this makes riding a bike in Japan much more dangerous than in the west.

Always honor all road signs. This site has a list of Japanese roads signs for motor vehicles, but the same applies to cyclists.

Also always remember to ride on the left – as motor vehicles do in Japan. Even on sidewalks try to always ride on the left.

Be polite to other riders + pedestrians. Be considerate. When in doubt, yield the right of way.

You can ride on streets, which means you won’t have to deal with as many pedestrians, but be aware that without bike lanes, you must be eternally vigilant. No one is going to watch out for you or see you,. No one. You have to be aware at all times of the situation + be ready to take evasive action in an instant. Not doing so could cost you your life.

In Japan many deliveries are made by small trucks on main roads. If you decide to ride on the street, you’ll have to deal with these + navigate around them – which creates another hazard. Keep in mind that if you swerve left in front of a parked truck at the curb, as you re-emerge and swerve back right, it’s highly likely that the flow of traffic behind you will not see you – or even know you’re there. This is an incredibly dangerous situation in heavy traffic. You may want to invest in some bike mirrors – but even then you’re going to have to be extremely careful. Always assume every vehicle around you may not see you – and plan accordingly.

Japan’s tiny backstreets present a hazard for all cyclists. In this case motor vehicles are banned, but they’re not always. Small streets like this can leave cyclists totally blind to oncoming traffic.

Parking

Bicycle parking (like auto parking) in Japan can be problematic. You usually can’t just lock your bike up anywhere and walk away. In fact, there are many signs along most streets telling you so. If you ignore them, your bike may be impounded by the police, and you’ll have to go retrieve it, which in huge cities might be a huge headache.

Unless you work in Japan + use your bike to get to + from work, parking willy-nilly out front of buildings is generally discouraged. Instead you need to find an authorized bike parking lot. Most Japanese train stations have them out front of the station. There are also metropolitan lots with paid or free parking. Prices are generally pretty reasonable – ¥100 for 6-10 hours. So around a buck a day. Unless you need to use a paid lot every day, it’s probably worth it.

Some central metro areas such as Ikebukuro + Shinjuku have large paid lots. You can Google around to find them.

Some rail station lots have automated parking ticket machines, and some have attendants. Some have coin-operated locks on each space. Some have coin-operated slots on the honor system – you pay for the time you use, but there is no lock on the bike slot – you have to bring your own locks or not use them at all.

To lock your bike at paid lots, you usually roll your bike up into a metal slot until it locks. You then note down the number of the slot, and go to an automated machine and pay. The machine will give you a ticket. When you are ready to retrieve your bike you punch in the number of your slot, or in some lots insert your ticket, pay any extra due, if required, and the machine will remotely unlock the slot so you can roll your bike out. Do not just walk up to these slots and lock your bike to them. It’s highly likely your bike will be removed by the lot owner if you do.

Honor system bike racks in Narita City.

Most Japanese rail stations have bike racks out front. Most are usually full.

Fully automated bike lot with payment machine.

Taking your bike on trains in Japan

In general, bicycles are not allowed on normal commuter trains around Japan: there just isn’t any space. If you attempt such, you’ll likely be asked to leave the train by a conductor. The one exception is the Narita Express to/from the airport, but even on that train, you’ll have to store your bike somehow at the end of a car in the luggage storage area, which is usually already cramped. Your best bet is not to. If you must, then take it apart in advance and store it in a bike box or Rinko Bag and then load it onto the train. A much better option however, is to disassmeble it, then ship it in a box ahead of you. Japan’s trains are just too crowded to accomodate a bicycle.

Bike Sharing

Japan’s NTT Docomo has started a bike sharing service in limited areas of Tokyo. You can read more about it on DoCoMo’s Bike Sharing Websites. They also have iOS + Android bike sharing map apps.

https://docomo-cycle.jp/

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1066451-d11979779-Reviews-Docomo_Bike_Share-Minato_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1066451-d11979779-Reviews-Docomo_Bike_Share-Minato_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

Resources

rentabike.jp

https://tokyocycle.com/

https://www.gotokyo.org/en/plan/getting-around/bicycles/index.html

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=bikeparking&find_loc=Ikebukuro+Station%2C+Toshima%2C+%E6%9D%B1%E4%BA%AC%E9%83%BD

https://tokyo.digi-joho.com/travel-living-tips/bicycle-parking-tokyo-regular.html

https://toa.com.sg/solutions/kansai-station-underground-bicycle-parking-lot

https://www.tokyobike.com/international.html

https://www.crowngears.com/html/worldguide/english_page.html

https://7bicycle.com/shops_en.html

http://cycle-tokyo.cycling.jp/shops.html

https://donnykimball.com/docomo-bike-share-d0b9c01b0c3b

Cheap Bike Tokyo

Best Bike Parking near Ikebukuro Station, Toshima:

https://www.yelp.com/search?cflt=bikeparking&find_loc=Ikebukuro+Station%2C+Toshima%2C+%E6%9D%B1%E4%BA%AC%E9%83%BD

Eco Station 21 iTerrace Bicycle Parking Area A:

https://japantravel.navitime.com/en/area/jp/spot/01252-NV0001311/

Rent a bicycle in IkebukurO:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298184-i861-k2542514-Rent_a_bicycle_in_Ikebukuro-Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

2 Wheel Cruise Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClvtLAnUD8z_9dec6iUc24Q/videos

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAcThSw2Y84&feature=youtu.be

More links:

https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=best+bike+shops+in+Itabashi+Japan

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g298184-i861-k6699430-Recommendation_for_bicycle_shops_in_Tokyo-Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

https://www.quora.com/Is-there-a-secondhand-bike-or-part-shop-in-Tokyo

https://japantriathlon.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/japan-bike-shops-directory/

https://tokyocycle.com/threads/tokyos-best-stocked-bike-shop.404/

https://tokyocheapo.com/lifestyle/reconditioned-bicycles-the-two-wheeled-wonders-where-to-find-them/

https://7bicycle.com/shops_en.html

https://morethanrelo.com/en/tokyo-bicycle-shops/